Dark-skinned people are more likely to die from skin cancer because the cancers are often not caught until the later stages of growth and are typically more aggressive, which leads to disproportionately more deaths among minority populations, according to research from the University of Cincinnati.
Even though dark-skinned women and men have more melanin (the cell element that provides pigment and protects skin from sun damage) and develop fewer nonmelanoma skin cancers compared with whites — they are far from immune to skin cancer.
So does this mean you need to lather on SPF 50 every two hours like your fair-skinned friends? For answers, we chat with Rona Berg, beauty expert and best-selling author, “Fast Beauty: 1000 Quick Fixes” (Workman Publishing) and Sandra Curzi, esthetician of 40 years and former head of esthetics department at the Eleanor Roberts Institute.
Here’s what they have to say…
Even though you may not need as much protection as lightskinned people, Berg says you should still apply a full-spectrum sunscreen or moisturizer every day.
Curzi, who is based in New England, doesn’t think those located in colder climates need to wear too much SPF during the dead of winter (January-February): “Surprisingly, I think you shouldn’t wear SPF all winter. The sun is on such an angle that we can’t get any vitamin D, so a little sunlight on the only patch of skin that’s showing, namely your face, isn’t going to be too bad. And if you can get even a little vitamin D from it, [that’s even] better.”
If you do spend some time outside and show a bit of skin this winter, reach for Australian Gold Sheer Coverage Lotion SPF 30 to protect your precious skin.
The skin on your face is some of the most sensitive and sun-exposed on your body, so treat it well this season by applying a daily lotion with SPF and UVA/UVB protection, like Vichy Capital Soleil SPF 50 Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid.
People often forget to protect their lips against the sun’s dangerous rays, so when you inevitably reach for a lip balm to soften your lips, choose one with SPF, like JASON Lip Balm SPF 25.
But the rest of the year calls for a bit of an SPF switch up. “The rest of the year I think one should wear at least a SPF of 15 and mix it with their moisturizer … People don’t realize they could be window shopping and get a burn as [easily as] if they were at the beach,” Curzi says.
Berg, on the other hand, strongly suggests wearing SPF all year long to protect skin against UV rays: “There is strong scientific evidence to prove that UV rays are damaging, and that means yearround.Sun damage is the number one cause of premature aging in women. You need to protect your skin … Extra pigment does provide extra protection, but dark skin is still susceptible to skin cancer, and it can be more deadly in those with darker skin since it is typically diagnosed later because there is a myth that dark skin is immune to skin cancer,” she says.
Lucky us! The extra melanin in dark skin offers extra protection from signs of aging, so any sun damage will show up later on your skin than on your fair-skinned friends.
Don’t! Research shows that though dark-skinned people are less apt to get skin cancer, when they do — it’s more deadly.
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